HAVING been on some recent litter picks of the A82 close to my house and in Overtoun Estate Woods, it is not uncommon to see that the vast majority of litter I collect could have been recycled which include Glass bottles (which can be placed in any nearby specialised recycling point), aluminium cans and plastic bottles.

This information is mainly why I support the charity Surfers Against Sewage's Message in a Bottle campaign and from Greenpeace who are calling for a Deposit Return Scheme to be introduced across Scotland to help rid the nation of prevalent aluminium cans (Beer, Lager, soft drinks, energy drinks, etc) and plastic bottles (water, lucozade, etc) from polluting our beaches, rivers, seas, roads, streets and countryside (heck - even hedges!).

To back up the Scheme in full, here are some facts the charity Surfers Against Sewage released:

1) A recent independent Scottish poll showed 79% of the Scottish public support for a Deposit Return System for Scotland with only 8% against.

2) Bottles and cans account for 40% of all litter (by volume).

3) In the past 12 months 50,000 plastic bottles have been removed from tidelines around the UK thanks to SAS beach cleans.

4) A Deposit Return System is expected to capture between 80-90% of these bottles and cans in the recycling economy and prevent them from polluting the environment.

5) 150 million people live with Deposit Return Systems across Europe with many more in America and Australia.

6) A Deposit Return System can save local authorities £159 million per annum.

7) A Deposit Return System would create a net increase of 4,000 jobs in the UK.

The Welsh Government has also hinted that they would instantly follow suit if the Scottish Government goes ahead with introducing the scheme.

Therefore, we hope that the Deposit Return Scheme can be adopted as soon as possible.

By taking action, I am confident this will get children, youths and young people more attracted to earning a little reward out of getting rid of the trash instead of carelessly littering the area around us.

Here is a link to the Greenpeace petition: https://secure.greenpeace.org.uk/page/s/scotland-plastics-petition?source=wb&subsource=20161111ocwb01

Jonathan Rainey, via e-mail.

BY common consent 2016 has been a challenging year, a year of disasters, what with Brexit, the election of Donald Trump as US president and a litany of celebrities who have sadly passed away.

It is therefore often difficult to remember that parallel to this we are living through somewhat of an arc of progress. We are living in a world that is getting richer, with the number of people living in extreme poverty falling below 10 per cent for the first time. Indeed, since 1990 almost 1.1 billion have escaped extreme poverty. World hunger also reached its lowest point for 25 years in 2016.

For the first time ever the death penalty has become illegal in more than half of the world’s countries and the world got healthier, with a World Health Organisation report showing that since 2000 global malaria deaths have declined by 60 per cent. Since their peak a decade ago AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 45 per cent and infant mortality has halved since 1990.

Taiwan is on the verge of becoming the first Asian country to legalise same-sex marriage and Tanzania banned child marriage.

For many 2016 may have been seen as the worst of times, but let us not forget it has been on the best of times too, so let’s not be too pessimistic as we enter 2017.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh.

AWARD winning documentary company Testimony Films need your help for a new Channel 4 documentary to mark the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act 1967. Through this film, we want to tell the story of gay men throughout this country during the 20th century.

Did you suffer prejudice or prosecution because of your sexuality, before or after the 1967 law was passed? In Scotland, gay sex remained illegal until 1980- did this affect you?

Were you one of the victims of the age of consent laws which meant that young gay men could be prosecuted for having sex below the age of 21- and later 18- whereas it was legal for everyone else? Did you live in fear of being caught?

Did you have to leave your job or were you dishonourably discharged from the armed forces? Were you affected by Section 28? Did you have a positive or negative experience of coming out, or did you feel like you couldn’t reveal your sexuality? Was your relationship with your family, or your faith, affected? Were you forced to endure aversion therapy?

Despite everything, did you remain defiant and get involved in campaigns to change people attitudes and the law? In what ways did you fight for your rights?

How did more liberal attitudes and equal rights for gays over the past fifty years change and enrich your life?

If you have a story to share we would love to hear from you. Please contact Pete Vance or Emily Sivyer on 0117 925 8589 or at pete.vance@testimonyfilms.com or emily.sivyer@testimonyfilm